What do people really mean when they talk about the marketing cycle? The main goal of most marketing efforts is to get more people through the funnel with the hope that they will ultimately make a purchase, but it’s important to remember that marketing also serves to amplify brand awareness and create an interactive experience so enjoyable that customers will actually become vocal advocates for your business. To accomplish this, it’s vital to truly understand the journey (or cycle) your prospective clients take and how you and your team can help encourage them to take the next step.
When it comes down to it, the marketing cycle stages describe the entire process a lead goes through before making a purchase, from research to follow-through. With regard to content production, a marketing cycle must have effective tactics in place to nurture the lead from one stage to another. Once you understand the steps, you can curate brand strategies to fit each step of the cycle. Making sure you attract your ideal audience where they are in the cycle is key.
So, what exactly makes up the marketing cycle concepts that encourage a lead to make it from one stage to the next?
3 Main Stages of the Marketing Life Cycle
Just in case the first encounter your prospect has with your brand does not stick, knowing other touchpoints to invest time in will bring them back around. The marketing life cycle stages consider a prospect even after they make a purchase. This is what separates this process from a glance into the buyer’s journey or conversion funnel. The purpose of this part of your strategy is to turn them into loyal advocates of the brand.
Positively influencing customer behavior as they navigate through the various touchpoints of the marketing cycle concepts will breed the ideal brand advocate you’re seeking to nurture.
In order to know what process can best be streamlined with your company practices will come with evaluating these three stages: attraction, nurturing and conversion and then implementing marketing automation.
The length of the marketing life cycle does not matter since the point is to understand your audience’s specific needs. Whether they’re coming in as a lead, first-time buyer or a repeat customer, you’ll be equipped for their next step. Review the following marketing cycle stages for best practices starting with:
How can you help customers find you? How do you get the attention of potential leads without using disruptive outbound methods that might turn them off?
The answer is by attracting leads to your site and grabbing their attention effectively enough to pique their curiosity. To do this, we recommend the following:
Be Active On Your Blog
Companies that update their blog frequently report 55% more website visitors. The content in your blogs has an impact on whether or not the reader actually makes a purchase. According to BlogHer, 81% of U.S. online consumers have made a purchase based on recommendations from a blog.
A few pointers to keep in mind when creating content:
- Always keep the persona of your lead in mind.
- Think about what they would like to hear.
- Consider the problems they need help with that you can potentially solve.
Try not to be overtly “salesy” in your content, especially during the initial attraction stage of your lead generation.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is key to helping your new inbound marketing leads. One of the first things people do when they have a question or problem is turn to their favorite search engine and type in their inquiry. If you utilize SEO properly, you’ll already know what they are searching for and you’ll have prepared content in answer to their long-tail keyword. If you’re doing SEO well, you will ultimately rank on the first page when the results load. Ideally, you want to have the featured snippet.
Methods to engage with customers have become increasingly personalized and as instant as a text message or email. Using these outlets to automate your communication can benefit the efficiency of your marketing product lifecycle. If you make these adjustments, your prospects will flow into the next stage easily.
How are you nurturing your lead? From your first touch with a potential client, they need to be encouraged to be part of your community through the proper pipeline. Now that you have more leads on your website, nurture them to take the next step. This usually involves the use of gated content, which you exchange for the lead’s name and email. You’ve created brand awareness; now you actually need to start tracking specifics and reaping the benefits of lead nurturing. Gated offers get you a contact registered and using services so you can start tracking their movements.
Take your content up a notch and make it enticing and valuable to visitors. Think infographics, white papers, and interactive eBooks as a place to start.
Here are a few components to help you on your way:
A landing page is where your gated content lives. Wherever your lead came from in order to get to the landing page may not be enough; you have to keep enticing the individual to download the content as the next step of the marketing cycle stage.
Through your words, answer questions such as, “How will this content help you?” and “What makes this content worth the download?”
Beyond the content, have a sleek design, a clear call-to-action (CTA), and a form.
Forms are how you capture your lead’s information. Usually, the information includes their name, email and sometimes their phone number. Try not to ask too many questions, as that may scare your lead away. When your lead clicks that download button, it means they are ready for further conversations.
CTAs (calls-to-action) help take your lead to the next stage in their marketing life cycle journey – from the blog to the landing page, or from the landing page to the form.
Be clear and concise with what you want them to do and try to only have one CTA per page.
Every lead is different, and making sure they receive personalized, engaging information is where dynamic content comes in.
With dynamic content, you can enable different copy, images, and design to appear for different people.
Buyer personas help ensure you have the right content at the right stage of the journey for the right lead. When creating personas, answer the following:
- What they do for a living
- Their schooling
- What they care about
- Where they get their information
- Their challenges
- How your business can help
Email drip campaigns
Once your lead puts their information in the form, they can (and should) be inserted into an email drip campaign. Use an automation platform to help streamline your communication.
How are your methods converting prospects to customers? Your lead is ready to convert from prospect to customer, which means the next step is driving conversions. Make the conversion stage – and really every stage of the marketing product cycle – as personal as possible, because personalization is what differentiates inbound marketing from outbound marketing.
You’ve impressed your prospect, but now what? Think about what you need to bring to the table amongst your competitors. Remember, the marketing cycle does not stop when your lead becomes a customer and makes a purchase. Stay in touch with your customers, keep learning about them and updating their information. We recommend using the following:
It’s crucial to keep visitor information private and secure. Using a marketing automation platform with a built-in CRM is sometimes the most effective as it keeps everything in one place.
Keep your customers updated with what’s going on in your organization. Invite them to review products or participate in a user-generated content social media campaign.
Look into the marketing cycle and decipher what worked and what didn’t. Use this information to better your next campaign.
Your potential customers want to be treated like people, not a number. Provide a unique feel to your experience and reflect on analytical data to stay on their mind and at the top of your industry.
How We Can Help
You know the benefits of every stage and their importance. Now, it’s time to reshape the cycle for customer segmentation. Do the hard work of getting the first touch, then automate for efficiency purposes. We have a selection of SharpSpring features designed to help you with just that. Discover how you can improve your marketing cycle with marketing automation. Contact us or get a demo today.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a marketing cycle?
This is a method consisting of a strategy mix that best influences customer behaviors as they move through the stages of the cycle. The goal is for them to go from prospect to loyal brand advocate.
What are the stages of the marketing life cycle?
The three key stages are attract, nurture, and conversion. Your path should go from engaging the prospect, to nurturing them at each stage of getting to know your brand to converting them into a brand advocate buyer. Understanding the points of the marketing concepts will help you bring in viable leads that align with your brand persona.
What is the difference between a marketing cycle and a sales cycle?
The sales cycle is outdated. The marketing cycle approaches prospects in a way that can be automated for your business yet makes the potential buyer feel unique. With the marketing life cycle, you’ll gather leads that will convert rather than wasting your budget to attract anyone as the sales cycle does.